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15 entries from February 2013

Is Your God too Small?: Three Radical Changes To BIG Hope

WomanPrayingMy precious friends, today I want to talk about hope. We’ve talked about hope in the past but we need to revisit this key area of our faith walk because without hope, we can’t have faith.

Without Jesus, we can’t have grace. And Jesus is the one we need to place ALL our hope in so that we can "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).

Let's be honest. We don't like pain. We've come to equate pain and discomfort with being "wrong" and "unproductive." For a long time I lived under the misconception that life would smooth out at some point, that the challenges would get easier as I got older, that overall, life would be easier and more manageable.

In some ways that's true but not because life became easier but because I'm a very different person than I was twenty years ago. I handle the challenges of life very differently than I used to. And what I believe now is radically different than what I believed then.

Radical Change #1:
Belief How we look at the trials, challenges and discomforts of life will directly affect the way you walk through them. Our trials, challenges and discomforts are purposed or repurposed by God for our good. This is the total truth of Joseph’s story in the Old Testament and as stated so clearly in Romans 8:28. If we believe that God words for our good in ALL things, then we can actively seek that good in everything we experience. When we see only the problem, all we see is the problem and our god is too small. But when we seek THE God first, trust Him and place our hope in Him, our trials, challenges and discomforts are the stepping stones to stronger faith, deeper trust and a growing love relationship with our Creator.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. — Hebrews 11:1

Radical Change #2:
Perspective With the shift of perspective comes a deeper understanding of God's designs and purposes. We begin the see the beyond what the Bible calls our "momentary troubles" and grasp a bigger picture. We live more and more in an eternal mindset that sees the prize to come instead of defining our life only by what we see in that moment. That's the most radical shift of all—when we realize that what we see today is not the complete picture nor is indicative of how things will always be.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Radical Change #3:
Approach Sometimes the challenge we face is due to circumstances outside our cause or control. Sometimes they are completely internal as God works in us to remove lies, bring healing and restore our soul. And other times and more often than we realize, it's a combination of the two because I'm finding that what we hold within ourselves also directly affects how we handle our situation.

But regardless of which type, we have a choice in every one. Will we rail, complain and resist the process? Or will we co-labor with God for the maximum benefit? I want to share a truth with you that I know came straight from the Holy Spirit as I prayed about writing this post.

The fruit of one trial becomes the strength of the next.

When we walk in this truth, we are walking in trust in God and walking with the Holy Spirit. This is how we find and keep hope. Not a hope based upon our circumstances which will shift and change at any moment. But a hope that is based upon an unchanging and eternal God who loves us more deeply than we can comprehend and desires/allows in our lives only that which will bring us closer to Him.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. — Romans 5:1-5

This is what I call "the hope-filled shift." Our belief, perspective and approach are so radically changed that no matter what we face, we don't lose hope. It's not easy but this is where we receive and live in the full promises of God. This is where we leave the mentality of defeat and walk in the reality of victory. We walk in freedom.

My friends, I want this for you so much that my heart and spirit actually ache in earnestness for you to know and live it. Together we can walk this path of faith, hope, love, victory and freedom. Will you join me?

Love you with the passion of Jesus!
Dineen

*****

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Conflict In Marriage - I Bet You Didn't Know THIS EITHER

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOn Friday I shared a story about how the enemy twists words in our marriage conflicts. Geeze, when I heard this it really made me mad. I can just imagine in the early years of my marriage how this could have and likely DID happen in our home. But what makes me even madder is the story I’m going to share with you today. Now my friends, I hope you get mad too. Because today we are about to reveal a tactic of the enemy he uses against us in marriage conflict. And as of today this ploy of evil will no longer hold power over us.

In my discussion with friends about marriage conflict we talked about another way the enemy comes in to wreck your day. What I’d never considered is how the enemy will perpetuate anger. And you know why he will work so hard to do this? TO WASTE OUR TIME.

Man, this really bugs me because I KNOW it’s happened to me. For example, Mike and I get into a discussion fight in the morning hours. Or let me be really pointed. It’s on a Sunday morning when I’m preparing to go to church alone – again alone. And on top of things my husband says something to me before I leave which is probably carless on his part but really gets my anger going. I choose not to have it out with him right before leaving for church. I go to church and in the back of my mind, I’M MAD. And that little seed of anger or resentment grows. But it explodes when I get in my car to return home. Now I’m madder when I arrive home and he's still in his PJs. I’m mad I went to church alone. I’m mad that he said something stupid earlier which by now I’ve completely blown out of proportion in my thoughts.

Arriving home, I’m so ticked off I can’t even talk to the guy. I’m mad he doesn’t even know I’m mad which make me madder… I’m plain MAD… (Geeze)

Please tell me that I’m not alone in this. I guess I need to know I’m not the only one to whom this has happened.

Well on a typical Sunday if I was mad, I would go outside and work for hours in my garden. And that reel of angry words (actual or made up in my mind) continues to replay in my mind. Over and over… Over and over. I end up fuming mad all day long. Mumbling under my breath as I dig weeds.

Okay, this is what is really happening. The enemy is whispering those words over and over in my head, feeding my anger. And do you know why? I’ve wasted a full day. An entire day passes and it’s wasted in useless anger. It’s a disruption to our marriage and a disaster to my spirit.

My friends, to win this battle is quite simple. It’s recognizing it. Just realize what is going on and that this anger that is boiling for hours is feed by evil because it wants to waste your time. So recognize it and rebuke it. Don’t agree to be angry. Take your thoughts captive to Christ. Sometimes I have to repeat over and over in prayer, "I take that thought captive to Christ. It will not consume my mind. In Jesus name."

Next, when you can’t come into an agreement or restoration with your spouse in an area of conflict, give it over to the Holy Spirit. Pray and ask in the power and authority for the Holy Spirit to take your anger and your impasse to an end or at least to bring peace into your marriage. It’s amazing what happens when we release the Holy Spirit into our midst. It changes the atmosphere.

Finally my friends, many of you NEED to hear this truth:

We serve the God of hope. We may think our marriage is always going to be this way. But it won’t. We serve a God of Faith, hope and love. Things will change. They will. How do I know this? Because He has changed my ordinary, everyday marriage. And if He will do this for me, God will do it for you. Pray, trust, believe and then receive.

Okay, has this scenario played out in your marriage?

I love you. And I have one thing more to say.

Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Amen…. Amen…. AMEN……

Lightning

*****

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Weekend Worship — Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide

IMG_2056
Yep, there it is. My "new" set of wheels.

My dear friends, I've taken you on this car journey with me, first sharing my family's finanical challenges, the need to sell my "beloved" SUV, and then the search for another car. Nothing "magically" appeared but I consider God's provision in this whole scenario as pretty evident and well, just plain cool. My SUV sold in less than 12 hours, giving us much needed funds, and now I have this cute 2003 VW Beetle that reminds me of the little car I drove through high school and college. The pieces just fell into place as we found this little gem online and made a quick sale with an adorable young couple ready to part with it. Even the CarFax said it was a great buy! We kept to our budget and accomplished our goal. Thank you, Lord!

So, all that to say, God provides. Sometimes He simply smooths the path like He did in this case. Other times His hand is more miraculous and astonishing as one story I just had the privilege to share in the new book Lynn and I are working on right now. Yes, consider that a teaser. We have some awesome stories to share in this book.

I bet you have some amazing stories too! Care to share them? What better way to worship God than to share with others His amazing goodness and presence. My MOST favorite thing on this earth is seeing God in action! There is nothing better!

So share those amazing stories right in the comments. Tell of God's amazing provision and presence! Those are the best stories to read and share, my friends. They are the proof that our God loves us, is faithful and loves to astonish us. He's spectacular! And this SUM community is amazing proof of that!

Love you all so much!
Dineen

Now let's worship our amazing LORD together!

*****

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Conflict In Marriage - I Bet You Didn't Know THIS

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI heard the most astonishing story this past week. And as I’ve thought about it, I’m compelled to share it with you. I was engaged in a discussion with a few people about marriage. You can imagine this particular subject will come up often because I’m so fascinated by God’s design for marriage.

The gist of the story was about conflict in marriage. What was fascinating is what one woman said about conflict with her husband. I’m going to share the story but I don’t remember it word-for-word so here is my adaptation.

A husband and wife were in the middle of an argument. (In the Donovan house, this would be called a fight. A heated verbal exchange would be accurate around here.) Well as this exchange began to elevate between this woman and her spouse, the husband and the wife became completely at odds and couldn’t understand one another’s perspective. The yelling heightened and then…..  all of a sudden the wife could see something, like a vision in front of her.

As she looked at her husband who was angered and speaking strongly to her, the vision opened up and she saw in front of her husband a demon who was grabbing and twisting the words of her husband as they came out of his mouth. These twisted words then landed on her ears. It was at that moment she realized she was hearing something entirely different than what her husband was intending.

I stood there listening to this story and it was as if I could see this happening in my own life. It was like a slow-motion replay. Mike talking at me. Evil twisting his words as they left his mouth and then the words landing on my ears twisted and angry, carrying along with them evil intentions.

Can I just say, “YIKES.”

My friend went on to say that she stopped the conversation with her husband and said, “I think I’m hearing you say…..”

“No, that’s not at all what I meant by that..” he replied.

That was the day they realized how the enemy can deeply entwine itself in the conflicts of marriage. That was also the day the couple agreed that in a time of conflict they would begin to ask each other for clarification. They would say something like this, “I’m hearing you say….. I think you are telling me….. I didn’t understand you exactly can you tell me again….”

Wow, imagine if we stopped and thought about what is happening around us in the supernatural realm during conflict. I hope this story changes how you have an argument with your pre-believer in the future.

On Monday, I will share with you another thing we discussed. And it’s something that has happened to me in the past. Now that I see it for what it is…. It ticks me off to know I was manipulated in marital conflict. Stay tuned.

So tell me… What do you think about this story and do you think this has ever happened to you in your marriage? See you in the comments. Live in love my friends because the devil is clueless to fight against you. BIG hugs, Lynn

*****

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Born to Create

IStock_000012723220XSmallI have a bone to pick. Something that has bugged me for years. It's not quite on topic with being spiritually mismatched but then again, this one change in your thinking could change every aspect of your life.

Care to pick that bone with me?

It's about creativity. For as long as I can remember I have loved to color, draw, illustrate, design and write. I've painted pictures and murals, crocheted more afghans and scarves than I can count and made several quilts. And I love to write.

So yes, I'm an artist. I am creative. Guess what? You are too. What's that you say? You can't draw? I've heard that line before: "I can't even draw a straight line." (Yes, pun intended.) Or this one: "I don’t have a creative bone in my body." (That’s the bone we’re picking—yes, another pun. How could I resist?) Or how about this complete and total potential buster: "I'm not a creative person."

But you are. You have to be. Why? Because you are created in God's image (Gen. 1:27). We all are. If we're created in God's image and He’s creative by nature, then we are creative beings. All of us.

Creativity comes in all forms. Not just at the end of a pencil or paintbrush. Not just in putting words together to create stories and move hearts. Creativity comes in the inspiration to arrange flowers in a vase, in the arrangement of furniture in a room, in the pages of a scrapbook, in the notes of a newly composed song, in a flower garden, in a carefully coordinated outfit complete with jewelry, in a scrumptious dinner prepared for your family, in the way you arrange your towels so they fit on the shelf because you don't have a linen closet (yeah, that’s me), in the photographs you take, in the way you pack your child's lunch so they are pleasantly surprised when they open it, in the sudden thought to call a friend and pray with her, in the text you thought up to send to your husband to make him smile, and in numerous other ways and things that I can't even think of but you can.

Are you thinking of some now?

God created us to create. Whatever that looks like for you, do it and if you don't know, I want you stop right now and ask God in what way He designed you to be creative.

Look at this definition I found on Wikipedia:

Creativity is the impetus behind any given act of creation: inventions, compositions, etc. It is a fundamental human compulsion and largely related to notions of what separates human from machine intelligence.

Are you an idea person? Then you're creating new ideas. Are you someone who likes to think outside the box? Then you’re creating new ways. Are you an organized person? Then you’re creating order. Are you a free spirit who loves to be with people and make them laugh? Then you’re creating joy.

I believe our creativity is where we are inspired by God, by His Holy Spirit, and I find that my greatest moments of creativity and inspiration come when I'm intentionally in His presence.

My friends, don't walk through life thinking you’re limited or uncreative. We are created in Christ Jesus and we’re created in God's image. We therefore are creative by nature. Somewhere between child and adulthood this part of us gets squelched down. So find your “artist” and let her loose. 

Ask God to show you what that is in you and how He wants to use it in your life, in your marriage, in your family—to impact those all around you. Think of it as a gift you have to share and find out how to share it.

Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now. Let's have a little fun with this. In the comments, share what inspires you to create or be creative. You may spark someone who's searching for their creativity or help another to see how they already are creative. Sometimes we simply need someone to point it out in us.

Love you with the passion of Jesus, my friends!
Dineen

*****

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A Marriage of Honor

So my friends, it’s been a tough week. On Friday morning I telephoned Dineen on her cell phone and said, “I need you to pray for me. I’m really sick and can’t seem to kick this cough. It’s one in the afternoon and getting into Kaiser (our healthcare provider) will be impossible at this late hour on a Friday afternoon. The weekend is then here and I’m traveling with my daughter to BIOLA on Monday for a college interview. I can’t get in to see a doctor before Tuesday.” Whining I say, “I need to get well.”

My BFF, Dineen, was out and about at that moment and said as soon as she arrived home she would call me back and pray with me. I hung up.

I prayed myself, “Lord, heal me. Lord, heal me. Lord, just heal me.” I’m betting some of you have been in such a broken place, a place where you are physically sick, emotionally sick, spiritually sick that all you can do is pray, ‘Lord, heal me.”

I hung up the phone and heard the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Call the doctor.” I phoned and miracle of miracles, they had an open appointment in an hour. I rushed off to the office, texted Dineen that I was on my way to the doctor and I arrived, checked in and just as I was entering the waiting area, a nurse was already calling my name. I hadn’t even sat down to wait.

God likes to show off that way at times.

The nicest Doc said I was sick. She prescribed a ton of stuff to treat a sinus infection, walking pneumonia and the sniffles. Sheesh, I didn’t know I was THAT sick. No wonder all I did for two weeks was sit on the couch.

As I write this it’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve been sick now for three weeks and I am finally starting to feel a little better. But what is fascinating to me is that my physical weakness has left me spiritually weak. And the enemy knew just when and how to hit me. Because I’ve been so sick, I haven’t been retreating to my morning wilderness walk-n-prays. I started to walk a couple times this week. Set out and walked maybe 50 yards and then turned right around and came home. This shortened my praying and lessened the time I filled my spirit to fight the battles.

Why am I sharing all this with you? Well for a couple of reasons. One: I didn’t really understand how vital it is to keep our triune person healthy. I haven’t really experienced until today how my physical weakness has greatly impacted my spiritual and emotional strength. We are made of a soul, physical body, and a mind (emotions). We must care for and feed each part of ourselves.

Two: When we are weak in one area, we can become weak in all other areas. I’ve haven’t felt this defeated in a long, long time. Let me tell you when I’m sick, I’m not a good patient. I’m grouchy, fussy, and what I hate most of all- I’m negative minded. Geeze. Ask my husband. He had to put up with me the last three weeks. Sheesh!

But you know what has bugged me most of all. How I slipped down the slippery path of this negative thinking. I became uber critical of my husband. I was short tempered and felt as though everything this man did around me irritated me. He annoyed me, disappointed me and argued with me.

For crying out loud on Saturday we argued over a load of laundry. Good grief, I looked at him and said, “Why are we arguing over laundry?”

My friends, as a believer it’s up to me to be the aroma of kindness in my home. And this past week, I was the stink. If you vomit on someone, they are going to stink like you. Now I didn’t physically throw up on my husband but I stank and it made him stink too.

So after church this morning, I asked for prayer. I’m on the road to physical health, emotional health and spiritual health. I NEVER want to be this smelly again in my marriage. I’m convinced that I set the tone of our home. Remember in 1 Corinthians 7:14 we the believer sanctify our home. So, as of today, I’m on a mission of kindness. It is my great desire to honor my husband and honor my marriage.

What does that look like?

HonsignHonor in marriage is where we celebrate who the person is without stumbling over what they are not. –Bill Johnson

I’m determined to focus on my husband’s strengths and love him with kindness and honor.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

I’m wondering if you might want to join me on this journey? I wonder if you have been the one who like me, needs to give a little grace and receive a little grace?

If so, pray with me.

Father, stop me in my tracks if I’m not walking in the power of your kindness. Amen

 

Today, let’s focus on looking at our spouse through the eyes of honor. Have an amazing week. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Weekend Worship — God is Our Victory and He is Here!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. — 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

My friends, how are you doing? How has your week gone? What are you struggling with right now? I shared last week that I would have to sell my car. I was sad to see it go, but after a few tears I was able to praise God for bringing us a quick sale at a fair price—exactly what I had prayed for. Now I'm praying for a little used car to get the job done. LOL! I'll keep you posted on that one. My God is the God who provides and He will come through!

God's heart is for us and He knows our challenges because He is with us. Let's invite His love to work through our amazing SUM community and bring peace and healing to our hearts. Leave prayer requests in the comments and let's pray for each other through this weekend as we praise God for His presence and the victories that are and will be ours! I will be praying for each one of you too.

As this amazing song says, we are conquering co-heirs with Christ. Belt this song out wherever you can as a statement of faith—a closet, a shower, in the car—I promise you will send the enemy quaking and end with a heart strengthened! I know my shower will never be the same either. ;-)

My heart and prayers are with you, my precious friends! I love you all so very much!
Dineen

 

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

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We are Equipped!

IStock_000019658016XSmallAs we walk in our faith, God continually puts a call on our hearts to be more like Jesus. It's a mystery we will walk through our entire time here and is part of God's Kingdom come here on Earth and is part of God's great plan.

The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I've been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board. This is my life work:helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities. And so here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ. — Ephesians 3:6-8 (The Message)

I'm using The Message paraphrase here because I think it makes this passage in Ephesians more understandable. First, Paul makes it clear that we all stand on the same ground before God. We are all offered the same promises in Christ. Jesus came to die for all of us and it's up to us to accept His gift. I think our SUM community here understands this probably better than most.

But it's the second part of this that I want to point out. Paul shares how taken by surprise he was that he would receive such a gift. He's referring to his past as a Pharisee and his brutal persecution of Christians. We see this happen even today when the least likely in our eyes become powerful tools for God.

The beautiful part (at least to me) is God's loving care in all the details. Paul says the same, that God equipped him to do what he clearly knew he could not. He even emphasizes this in saying it had nothing to do with his natural abilities.

Think about it. Here is a man who once stood in complete authority in the Temple who could have easily relied on his knowledge to move forward in his new standing with Jesus, yet he saw it as way over his head.

We feel that way a lot in our mismatched marriages, don't we? We feel like we're ill-equipped and in way over our head. That would be true if we were completely on our own. But we're not. Just as God equipped Paul down to the smallest details to share the mystery of Christ with Jews and Gentiles alike, God does the same for us.

My friends, this goes way beyond our words! God's Holy Spirit lives and dwells in us. We are equipped to the gills! Perhaps our greatest challenge isn't knowing when to act, speak, or do but in trusting this truth—trusting that God is there equipping us constantly for every situation we encounter or are called to.

Scripture backs this up too:

Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age." — Matthew 28:20 (The Message)

We don't have to ask God to be with us. He already is so let's use that prayer power to ask for what we need. Ask God for something He can do, not something He's already done.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

God's grace doesn't stop at the moment we accept Christ. God's grace is active and working. We tend to think we receive it when we are saved and then it's done, but God's grace is powerful and continues to work in and around us to transform us from the inside out. And that "out" is what those near to us see as we are transformed day by day to walk in the confidence, competence and gifts that come from God.

My friends, we spent a lot of time in our spiritual warfare series on our identity in Christ because this is truly our foundation.

As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. — Luke 6:47-49

Now I believe God wants to build upon our foundation the truths that are part of our inheritance in Christ so that we can walk forward in the promises and victories that are ours.

Any time you feel ill equipped or ineffective, I want you to pray this prayer over yourself and repeat it, out loud whenever possible, to affirm who you are and that Jesus has equipped you:

For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. — Ephesians 2:10

The Greek meaning of that word for “works” also means action, behavior, deeds, doing, effectual, labor, result and task. In other words, God created (in the Bible a word that is used exclusively of God and the energy He exerts) us and He planned significant actions that we would do effectively and with results (fruit).

Now repeat this to yourself, and out loud!

God intends for me to be effective and see results in my life.

When we are “walking in the Spirit”—following and seeking God in every part of our lives—we will be effective daughters and sons of the Most High God and see results in our life.

The choice starts with us, my friends. If we want this kind of life, we have to go after it, ask for it and believe it’s possible. God pursues us. We can choose to pursue Him.

Are you with me?

Lord Jesus, You came that we may know the Father as You do and to walk as co-heirs with You. Help us to truly believe this truth and to believe that wherever You are calling us to step out in faith, You have already prepared every detail so that we can walk effectively in this place and produce results (fruit) either in ourselves or to impact the lives of others. Thank you, Lord Jesus for this precious promise and gift! In Your powerful and mighty name, amen!

Praying & believing with you, my precious friends!

Dineen

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Monday Morning Update

LynnSUMprofileGood Monday Morning Everyone, 

My friends, forgive me for being a little out of the loop. I wasn’t able to be involved in the comments as last week I was really sick. I spent most of the week in jammies on the couch. I think I may have coughed up a lung at one point, but, I’m feeling a little better this week and today I have a ton to catch up. So if you emailed me, be patient, I will get back to you.

On a different note. Dineen and I received some letters in the mail from some of you last week. They were deeply touching and I know both Dineen and I cried when we read them. Thank you and Ro and Teresa T. I’m thinking you were behind this. THANK YOU!!!!! This is an amazing community and the richness of love and fellowship is not ordinary here. We are FAMILY!!

Dineen and I love all of you very, very much. 

I also want to let you know that last week I perceived in my spirit that our time to study Spiritual Warfare is ending. I’m convinced that we covered many aspects of warfare. I really hope it empowered you. So we are concluding that series now. If you want more information on warfare, buy Kris Vallotton’s book, Spirit Wars. It is illuminating and you will be emboldened like never before to fight against the darkness of this world.

I hope you found the series helpful. I earnestly pray you found freedom from the lies and that you discovered you have all authority and power to defeat the enemy of God.

So where do we go from here? I’m not certain and sometimes that’s a good thing. Dineen and I are not planning another series right now. We are asking the Holy Spirit to guide our writing here at SUM. But as I have asked God what to write about I keep coming back to a few different topics. And at the center of all of these topics is LOVE. I’m thinking my posts in the coming weeks will be about Relationship. Our relationship with our God, our husband, our children, and our relationship among our community here.

I think I want to write about how our healing in Christ brings about healing in our relationships on earth. How when God touches our heart and emotions with health we then impact our marriages. I want to talk about honor. How walking in honor can change everything and everyone around us.

Today, Monday, February 11, 2013 is the day I proclaim we will begin our intentional journey toward healing. Toward relationship revival. Toward salvation of our spouses. Toward the heartbeat of God. Today I’m asking God to bring about our spiritual, emotional and even physical healing. Because our healing is the beginning of healing for so many others.

Lord Almighty God,

This hour Father, in Jesus name, I proclaim Your promises of healing for us, your children. I proclaim the release of the captives from deceit, disease and distress. Lord, I’m asking you to touch each of us in a personal and powerful way. Lord, hear our hearts plea for provision, healing and deliverance. Place upon us Your eternal seal of love. Renew in each of us the profound abundance of GRACE. Let us glimpse the supernatural. Our Great King, I’m asking you to stir up a fire in our soul, a hunger so fierce in that it will not be quenched even under the heavy barrage of an unbelieving spouse.

Abba, Father, increase in us. Touch our lives with your boundless provision of financial blessings. Scatter upon our house the realization of the riches we already have. Provide for our every need and even our daily delights. Lord bring healing upon your people here. Heal our physical bodies, our broken hearts, fractured relationships, confuses children, torn up churches and beat up souls. This hour God I ask you to dispatch angels from heaven, each with a cup of healing water that flows from your throne. Send them to every person reading these words and pour that healing water upon them and onto their parched lips. Heal them in the name of Jesus. Heal them instantly and with power. Let them proclaim this is the day of the Lord.

And now Lord out of our great healing, let us, the many of this community take your love, your goodness, your compassion and healing to our homes, our churches our communities and let it flow from us like a gushing fountain THAT ALL WILL KNOW THE NAME OF JESUS. It is in You son's name, Jesus, the name above all name we ask in His power, all of these things. AMEN

*****

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Weekend Worship — Praying On Our Armor

We're reaching the end of our spiritual warfare series, my friends, and I can't think of a better way to punctuate all we've learned than praying on our armor of God. Join me in prayer and then let's praise God for His outlandish and extravagant love for us.

Ephesians 6:10-18
Lord, we are strong in You and Your mighty power. We put on our full armor of God, so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. Remind us daily that our struggle isn’t against our spouse, our children, our family, our friends, our jobs, our situations, our neighbors, the strangers we meet or even our government. The battle is truly against the rulers, authorities and powers of evil present in this world and in heaven, against satan and his demons working to steal, kill and destroy us.

So today and everyday from now on I put on my full armor of God and stand my ground against the enemy’s schemes against me and my family.

I buckle on the belt of truth, which is Christ dwelling in me because He accepted, adopted, blessed, chose, forgave, loves and redeemed me (Ephesians 1). This is the truth of who I am in Jesus and the foundation of my authority and power in Him. (Luke 9:1-2)

I put my breastplate of righteousness in place over my heart because your Word says to guard my heart above all else for it determines the course of my life. (Prov. 4:23) Lord, I pray that the eyes of my heart be enlightened so that I will know the hope that You have called me to, the riches of my inheritance in Jesus, and the amazing power for us who believe—the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in Heaven as our intercessor forever. (Ephesians 1:18-21)

I stand with my feet firmly placed in the gospel of peace because your word is lamp to my feet and light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, because He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) The enemy cannot prevail for I am already the victor in this battle. (Romans 8:37-38)

I don my helmet of salvation because the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

I lift sword of the Spirit, which is your Word that I will use faithfully to pray against the enemy and to faithfully live my life in accordance to for we live on every word that comes from Your mouth, Oh Lord. (Deut. 8:3/Matt. 4:4)

Lord, teach and help me to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. And keep me alert to pray for all my sisters and brothers in Jesus. In your mighty, powerful and holy name we pray, amen!

I love you so very much, my precious and beautiful friends. You bless me, inspire me and show me everyday the wonder of God in our lives and what it means to be unified in the Spirit.

Hugging you so very tight with the love of Jesus in my heart,
Dineen

*****

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The Beautiful but Dark Gateway

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comI left you earlier in the week with a scene from our kitchen table. My daughter had experienced a supernatural and scary encounter. But, you know as I think upon this, my heart soars… You know why? This 17 year old kid KNEW what to do. Somewhere, somehow, I’ve equipped her with enough to go into battle.

What really bugs me is that I had to equip her when she was five years old. “Mommy.” She came to me in her princess pajamas and rubbing her eyes. “Mommy, last night on my bed I saw red eyes that were in my stuffed animals. It scared me mommy.”

Good GRIEF!!!!!

I clearly remember this and I also remember that I believed her. Our kids need us to believe them. Children are told there is no such thing as the boogie man and sent back to bed, defenseless and vulnerable. They hid under the covers and shake because we haven’t equipped them.

Now, I know I’m not alone in stories like this. Kris Vallotton shares a similar story about his granddaughter seeing something scary in her room. Kris’s son calls him and Kris tells his son to tell the little girl to say out loud, “Get, out of here bad angels. Get out of my room.”

For me I calmly and with confidence said to my little girl, “Caitie, you don’t need to be afraid because you have Jesus with you. The red eyes can’t hurt you. But, they are only trying to scare you to keep from talking to Jesus. So, you just pray and command them to leave in the name of Jesus. You say, I bind you and you must get out in the name of Jesus. Say it over and over until it leaves.”

Man I tell you what, my daughter prayed but I went to war. I started praying like crazy, pacing the floor. Walking in her room. I roamed throughout the house with arms raised and speaking aloud the words of a warrior who is mad as a hornet and stirred with purpose. I prayed for legions of powerful angels to be dispatched from the throne room to flood our house. I prayed for warrior angels to stand at every door and window with swords drawn. I prayed down power and I prayed defeat, binding this evil in the name and by the blood of Christ. My friends, I STILL pray like this today. I seek constant protection around my home, around my family. I ask for this for each of them by name every single morning.

My prayers have changed in the years as I have learned more about the spirit realm. What I know is that fear, emotion, manipulation, bargaining doesn’t affect the demons. The only thing that will cast away an evil spirit is authority. We have all authority to do this, read again Luke 9:1-2.

Before I leave this story I think there is something interesting to be noted from my daughter’s recent encounter. Why did this evil return after being gone for so long. Now that’s a good question. I asked my daughter this question if you remember. Do you remember her answer?

She said, “It started the night when I watched that scary movie at the theater.”

My daughter opened the door to this activity. She went to a scary movie which gave permission to the enemy to enter her life. My daughter knows that watching anything scary produces this kind to stuff in her life. She has always been sensitive to the spiritual realm. After years and as she is approaching High School graduation, she believed she could handle this movie. After all it wasn’t even a horror or even a scary movie. It was a movie that was eerie and disturbing. But that’s all it took to invite the demons back.

My daughter told me the night she sat at the kitchen table that the shaking stopped, that she prayed. I was relieved. But she also said something very interesting, “Mom, I prayed, rolled over and ignored it. After all, really, what is it going to do to me? Stab me? It can’t.”

Out of the mouths of babes.

The power of ignore. Kris Valloton states it like this about his red-eyed tormentor: After months of this, rebuking the thing in Jesus name and reading scriptures to it, nothing seemed to faze it. Then one day the Lord gave me the Philippians principle: In no way be alarmed by your opponents, which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you. He called this “the power of ignore.”  (Phil 1:29) Read the book because this story is much more in depth and filled with God's power. 

Okay, let's go back to my daughter’s story. My friends, think about this. We work so hard to reveal the lies, rid our lives of sin, bring about forgiveness and we find a glimpse of freedom. But, then we turn right around and invite the tormentors right back in.

So here is my question? What are you allowing into your heart and mind that is an invitation to fear, deceit, lies and torment?

I’m compelled to tell you that if you are watching programs like Ghost Hunters, The Ghost Whisperer, Long Island Medium, etc. this is a very real open door. Also, things like Ouija boards, tarot cards, palm reading, even if it’s only just for fun, open-OPEN door.

Discernment is key in this area. We make hundreds of choices daily that either slam the door on the enemy or leave us vulnerable. Keeping the Dove of the Holy Spirit on my shoulder is a minute-by-minute surrender to the love and discernment of our Lord.

God is not a God of withholding experiences or fun from us. What the world tells you is fun, harmless and that you are an adult so you can partake is often a beautiful but deadly gateway to oppression.

Thoughts?

Love you my friend, Lynn

*****

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Weary of the Battle?

I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle—victorious.
— Vince Lombardi

6a00d83451ee9f69e2017ee7581a53970d-320wiMy friends, today I want to speak to those of you who are in the thick of battle and are tired. I've received several emails to this effect and I'm carrying each of you close to my heart right now, like a friend cheering you on from the sidelines.

You're tired—tired of the battle, the fight—tired of praying and seeing nothing change. Are you in this place, my precious friend?

What if I told you the battle is always fiercest right before the end? What if I told you your victory is just around that last corner that you can't quite see yet?

Would you keep fighting? Would you keep praying? Would you stand firm?

This weekend I took a walk with my husband and at one point, I broke into a light jog to cross a wide street. I don't normally jog but I've always wanted to, imagining how free I'd feel. Past attempts have left me too winded or with a hurt foot or knee, but I've been walking much more than I have in the past and as I reached the other side of the street, I didn't want to stop. I wanted to keep going because I caught a glimpse of what I'd imagined. My husband, who was born athletic, joined me and encouraged me to keep going. He pointed out a stop sign at the end of the street and told me to make that my goal.

So I did. I kept my eye on that red sign. My knees started to protest so I adjusted my stance. My hips began to “whine” ever so slightly and reminded me that the word on that sign was stop. I kept pushing through the burn because I wanted the victory. I knew if I stopped before that marker I would wonder if I could have made it had I pushed just a little farther, hung on just a little longer.

I prayed for strength. Just a few more steps and I was there! Victory was mine! I don't know if this means I’m now a jogger but in this one moment, I was. Even though my body felt tired, I felt strengthened in my heart and spirit.

We've talked about many of the enemy's tactics, but there's one that hardest to see at times. He's a master plotter and knows when all else fails, he still has one area that he can attack.

That, my friends, is at the end of the battle when the fight is fiercest and our prayers take more strength than we think we have. Evil makes its assault when we are on the verge of a breakthrough or on the precipice of taking new territory.

The enemy turns up the heat just enough to make us think we are losing when we are about to have our victory. When you reach that point when you think you can't win, that's the enemy whispering defeat into your heart. When you think your spouse, your loved one, your life, even your very self is a lost cause, that is the enemy's panicked attempt to make you back off because he's about to lose.

Sometimes I imagine Jesus and the heavenly realms cheering us to that finish line only to watch us stop a mere few feet away, because we think we've lost. We buy into what we see and not what we know to be true.

Our victories come in moments that reveal a change not only in the person or situation we are praying over but also in ourselves. We too are changed as we step into new freedom and territory, stronger that just a few steps before and closer to God. Each and every step is a victory!

But it's not easy. The question is, will we struggle, fight, stand and persevere through those last few steps when the enemy is bent on convincing us to give up?

Victory never looks like what we expect and seems to always exceed our expectations when it does come. Sometimes it arrives through times of staying put right where we are or in the moments when God says let go so He can take complete control. What we may perceive to be failure may simply be the final set-up for a breakthrough.

My friends, please understand I am not tell you what to do. I'm telling you to do what God has told you to do. What did He speak to your heart when the battle began? What are the promises He gave you along the way? What is He telling you right now?

As I wrote this post, God put it upon my heart to share a battle I’m in right now. It may seem trivial, but even the smallest battles have a purpose, a desired result to add to the big picture of God’s Kingdom.

For the last year or so our financial picture has become more and more difficult. In January when I prayed for my husband, God gave me the word, “Prosperity.” I confess I struggled with it, wondering how God could prosper us when my husband is still walking his own path. Before I could even speak this doubt to God, He spoke so clearly, “I bless him through you.”

This week we will have to sell my car—my 2010 Honda CRV. I waited at least fifteen years to own one of these. I love my car, but it’s just a car. The enemy, however, wants to make me resentful, which I could easily indulge in because I’m bearing the brunt of the situation at the moment, and he’s trying to make me doubt what I heard from God. But I wrote it in my journal. I reread it anytime the enemy tries his tactics, because I KNOW what my God said and I BELIEVE HIM!

I know it seems strange that selling my car would be part of God’s plan of prosperity for us, but I trust God and I know Him well enough by now to understand two things: One, I know whatever happens with this will be part of what brings my husband to faith. Every part of our lives can be opportunities to have Kingdom impact on a life and my guy’s soul is more important than a car.

And two, my limited thinking of what all this means only succeeds in putting God in a box. Just because selling my car seems counter to what God has spoken doesn’t mean it is. Remember, His ways are not ours. He sees the big picture, I don’t. Therefore I trust God for the outcome, because I know it will be better than what I would have if I held onto that car.

Whatever God calls us to do, we are guaranteed the victory. Wherever God leads us, we will succeed, overcome, or accomplish whatever that is. Our victory is guaranteed because we are in Christ and we belong to God. That is what we can hold onto and will never have to let go of or give up. The enemy can’t take it away from us either.

Trust God. Believe Him. This is our greatest form of worship.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. — 1 John 5:4

Praying for earthshaking, life-changing faith for each of you!
Dineen

*****

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The Battle For Your Kids

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comLast night my daughter looked up from the kitchen table where she was working on homework. I'd just sat down in the family room to watch the news recorded our on DVR. It was late in the evening as I arrived home from an evening Bible study and she from drama rehearsal.  “Mom, the bed shaking started again a few nights ago.”

I hit pause on the DVR, “Caitie did you pray against it.”

“Yes, mom” her eye-roll was evident.

Okay here is the part where I launch into a lecture about how to pray, thus the eye-roll. She interrupts, “Mom, I don’t need the lecture. I know what to do.”

“Why do you think this started after it’s been so long?”

“It started the night when I watched that scary movie at the theater.” 

Okay, my friends, there is so much in this short conversation that I don’t even know where to begin. But I find it fascinating that the demons show up when we are in the midst of this study. And as I talked with the Lord this morning, I knew I needed to share the lessons we all can learn from a 17 year old girl. 

What will be difficult is that some of you reading this will reject what I’m about to tell you because it just seems too fantastic, a fantasy. I recognize that it is a risk for me and my credibility, in that I may appear unstable in your eyes or that I’m imagining what I’m about to share with you. However, what I KNOW to be true is that I have walked with our Jesus now for so many years and His words about the spiritual realm are absolute truth. I've experienced both evil and the divine. We live in the natural world that is always under the influence of the supernatural. There are demons, satan is real and he is a liar. His ministry is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus dealt with demons on a continual basis. In reality, so do we. Some of us are blind to him and are used as a pawn in his game and some of us have learned to take away his power and defeat him.

More than anything for the rest of my life, my life’s purpose is twofold. One to live in the Presence of our Living God. Two, to bring healing, hope, and joy to the captives. To point to the freedom in Christ from oppression and sickness, emotional, spiritually and physical by defeating the enemy.

So I will take the risk because there are readers right now who are living in the midst of real manifestations of evil and are clueless on how to deal with them.

Well, no longer. Your freedom day is here.

My friends, Dineen and I have spent weeks bringing you to this place. We have explained and encouraged you to recognize your own bondage and oppression so that you can find your freedom. We have hit hard on the truth that our identity in Christ is at the core of everything, especially spiritual warfare. So, now with all of this armament upon us, we have arrived at the battle ground.

Let’s go back to my daughter. Well, even further than that. Years ago, I would go to bed and as I was drifting into sleep, where I was at that in between stage between sleep and awake, my bed would start to shake. It was a rapid vibrating shake. It was strong enough to wake me up. My friends, I would wake with heart pounding, gripped in terror, as I could still feel it shaking. Now when you are weak in your faith, you start to think you are imagining this shaking, yet your body can feel it.

Because this happened to me so long ago I don’t remember exactly at what point I came to the realization that this was demonic activity. Night after night of this shaking is terrifying. It is also interesting that my husband has never felt it (I’ve asked him). But, it was during those years that I memorized scripture about fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 became my lifeline. I would sit up in bed, heart pounding and start to tell that demon at the foot of my bed that God DID NOT give me a spirit of fear but one of power and love and self-control. I would say it out loud, over and over to this thing in my room. And with conviction. After repeating it over and over the shaking would stop.

I’m not sure how long, the number of years, this torment lasted. But it seemed like a long season. This was also the season where I was praying intensely for my husband to be delivered from any spirit that had attached to him. If you remember, I’ve shared that story where I had it out with that thing one night. Since that night I haven’t been bothered by shaking.

My friends, today the devil can’t touch me!! But guess who he’s after? That’s right my kids and my husband. And quite frankly it pisses me off (can I say that on a Christian blog?). Well it makes me so mad I could spit bullets. I KNOW how scary it is and what really makes me mad is the ugly beast starts on our kids at a very, very young age.

For my daughter, she was about age five.

And I’ve also witnessed the manifestation of something evil come over my husband.

I will share these two stories with you in the next few posts. What is imperative to know as I share these stories is that my love relationship with God, through the power and authority of Jesus and the Holy Spirit is my strength, power and authority. So the enemy cannot touch me. And my prayers of authority for my family absolutely bring to bear their freedom from the tormentors, the liars and all manner of evil influence.

So as we proceed forward, I want you to contemplate and pray about a few things. Ask God to help you wrap your mind around His scriptures to help you process the reality of the spiritual realm in our world today. Ask God to open your eyes to evil influences and prompt you to pray with authority. If you need help to pray with authority, watch this video where I pray in this manner. Ask God to help you listen to your children when they try to tell you about scary things they see or hear. I will be helping you in a future post on how to teach your kids to pray against these sort of things. Ask God to fill you with confidence and to remove your fear from the enemy. When we live in fear we are powerless. That is exactly what demons want. They scare us to keep us from living in relationship with God. Because when we are in relationship we live in power and authority to bind them.

So share with me your thoughts, your prayer requests and your questions. My friends remember, LOVE conquers all. The enemy is powerless in the presence of perfect love of Christ. I love you. Lynn

*****

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Weekend Worship — God Makes Beautiful Things

We've had an emotional week here in the SUM community, my friends. I have read your comments, prayed over them and at times I have cried as I read the outpouring of your precious hearts. So I wanted to do something special for today. I prayed for God to lead me to just the right song, got in my car yesterday and when this song came on the radio, I knew God was telling me this was the one. I smiled and whispered a sweet thank you to Him.

He loves us so much, my friends. He made you beautiful and God doesn't do shoddy work! You are a work of art!

Love you with the passion of Jesus!
Dineen

 

*****

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God Knows Your Name

6a00d83451ee9f69e2017ee7581a53970d-320wiMy friends, I have just loved reading all your comments on Wednesday’s post! You are so fired up and ready for battle. I told you I had something special for you today. This is the other side of our warrior armor and is grounded in the heart of our Precious Lord, our Abba Father, who adores us.

First, I have to set the stage and share something that happened to me Monday because as I walked through it, God told me to share one part specifically with you. I woke up Monday morning and went into my quiet time a bit unsettled. I know God is working some stuff out in me but I’ll be honest, I wanted to run away and hide. God said clearly to me, “I have a work to do in you.”

Okay, when God says something like that to you, do you want to tell Him to hurry up? LOL! I know I did, but I didn’t think He’d take me so seriously!

So, out I went for my walk to worship and pray, obeying the nudge to do so because the next thing God said was, “I have much to tell you.”

Now my brain tends to get really overactive and the best way I know to quiet it so I can hear God is to play worship music. Finally after one lap of walking and fretting, God did “His work.”

My friends, I kid you not, I walked around that park bawling! Yep, wet faced and runny nosed. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I was “leveled.” God spoke to my heart and mind about the spiritual gifts He’s given me. And my name.

You see, about a month ago I listened to a podcast from a friend and in it He spoke about God’s name for us. Did you know God has a special name for each of us?

But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. — Isaiah 43:1

And the Lord said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name. — Exodus 33:17

Scripture puts a lot of emphasis on names. Remember how God gave specific names to Jacob (Israel), Abram (Abraham—father of the Jewish nation), and Simon (Peter)? And we all know how important the name of Jesus is.

After I listened to this podcast, I asked God what His name for me was and kept praying for a few days. God first told me to know His names, so I began looking at His many names and the meanings behind them.

Then one day as I was walking and wasn’t even thinking about it, God spoke to me my name. I’ll be honest—I guess I was expecting something different, but I will say that it made sense based upon the ways God uses me.

But on Monday, God spoke to a deep insecurity in me that I hadn’t even voiced in relationship to my name. I thought my name and how I am called to serve came as a result of my past because so much of what we do go through winds up in His hands to be used to comfort others (2 Cor. 1), right?

God told me that my gifts and name are not a result of my past. They are part of my identity in Christ, part of who God created me to be before I was even born! I am not handicapped or impaired by my past, nor are my spiritual gifts. Here I was thinking that I was working in a limited way and God said, “My gifts for you are complete because they come from Me—from my strength and power.”

My friends, when God spoke to my heart this truth, I started praying for you, because I wanted this truth to come to light in your lives too. As I prayed for this, God said to me, “Tell them, Dineen, share it with them. Tell them their past does not define them.”

Whatever God is calling you to do or be, it’s because He planned it from the beginning. Not because of what you’ve lived or experienced in your past. Those areas will only enhance the spiritual gifts God has for you and only if you let Him. Let Him do that work in you!

So, my precious friends, I want you to pray and ask God what His name is for you. This is deeply personal, so write it in a journal and add to it as God shows you more of who He created and uniquely designed you to be. Do feel free to share in the comments anything that will encourage others, but only what you feel comfortable sharing.

You may not hear Him right way. It may take a few days or even a few months. Don’t despair. In God’s time, He will speak your name to your heart and don’t be surprised if it’s also indicative to whatever area you find yourself serving Him or a direction or place you sense Him tugging your heart toward.

God made you, created you and named you. He loves you that much and KNOWS YOU THAT WELL (Psalm 139).

Rest in His amazing love and truth, my friends. God has called you by name!

You are in my heart and prayers!
Love you all so very dearly!
Dineen

*****

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